The new 5:2 diet, the 3-1-2-1 diet, seems too good to be true!

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • A diet that lets you eat cake and drink cocktails (to an extent). We put the 3-1-2-1 diet to the test...

    Is the 3-1-2-1 diet similar to the 5:2 regime? 

    A little. You follow a non-processed and low-carb diet for three days a week using special combinations of foods, and on the fourth and seventh days you ‘cheat’ by having a glass of wine or a piece of cake, because you earned it. This shocks your body, speeds up your metabolism, and you also get to have a bit of a life.

    I like the sound of this. 

    Us, too. It’s the brainchild of Dolvett Quince, a celebrity trainer and star of The Biggest Loser in the US, who devised it after observing the weight-loss patterns of his clients.

    This is promising…

    To maximise weight loss, you eat ‘double-duty food combinations’. Either vitamin C and monounsaturated fats, which together lower cortisol levels in the body and promote muscle growth. Or fibre and healthy fats, which keep your blood-sugar levels stable. Plus, protein should take up half of your plate. Give me a steak, now. 

    What can I have on treat days? 

    You can’t snack on cake all day, but a little treat meal is allowed.

    Tester’s verdict: 

    “Want a diet that you can actually stick to? This is the one. You can eat well and have snacks, but you do need to plan in advance because of the food combinations. Allowing yourself to have a cheat treat or drink on days four and seven beats the cravings and lets you have a social life.”

    Hannah Lewis, fashion assistant


    You can drink cocktails and eat cake (to a certain extent), and you’re never hungry.


    A cheat treat can easily turn into a cheat day if you’re not disciplined, and you have to be prepared and make most of your meals beforehand.

    How much weight was lost in three weeks? 

    “I will definitely be sticking to this plan – I lost 4lb.”

    Get involved: The 3-1-2-1 Diet: Eat and Cheat Your Way to Weight Loss – up to 10 Pounds in 21 Days (£19.99, Grand Central Life & Style). 

    Reading now